The Road to Hell: How the Biker Gangs Are Conquering Canada

Description

392 pages
Contains Photos, Index
$35.95
ISBN 0-676-97598-4
DDC 364.1'06'60971

Year

2003

Contributor

Reviewed by Geoff Hamilton

Geoff Hamilton, a former columnist for the Queen’s Journal, is a
Toronto-based freelance editor and writer.

Review

In The Road to Hell, award-winning investigative journalists Sher and
Marsden examine the recent rise to prominence of Canada’s biker gangs
and the efforts made by law enforcement to bring them to justice. As
they note, “The Hells Angels are stronger here than in any other
country. More than one in four of the Hells Angels’ worldwide members
calls Canada his home.” Largely the story of Hells Angels member and
police informant Dany Kane, the book focuses on events in the 1990s that
culminated in a ferocious gang war between Quebec’s Rock Machine and
several Canadian chapters of the Angels. Along the way, the authors
point out the continuing failure of the justice system to contain the
growth of this brand of organized crime, and the occasional outright
incompetence of the RCMP and local police forces in rooting out the most
insidious offenders.

This is an engrossing, unusually detailed, frightening book, and it can
fairly claim to be the definitive work to date on Canada’s biker
gangs. The inside information provided by Kane lays bare the inner
workings of gang life and strategy—from drug running and prostitution
to money laundering and murder—and the anecdotes from within both the
gangs and police agencies make for very colourful reading. Particularly
effective is the book’s exposure of the outrageous underfunding of
Quebec’s justice system, the failure of the RCMP and local police
forces to work together constructively, and the ominous takeover of the
Halifax and Vancouver ports by the Angels. As the authors write, not
only did the Angels destroy their criminal rivals by the late 1990s, but
“were also triumphant against a justice system that seemed
overburdened to the point of collapse.” Though the notoriously
cutthroat Maurice “Mom” Boucher is now incarcerated, the authors
make a compelling case for the continuing threat to law and order posed
by the gang he once led. This book will please criminologists looking to
understand organized crime in Canada better, along with readers simply
interested in an entertaining study of our nation’s underworld.

Citation

Sher, Julian, and William Marsden., “The Road to Hell: How the Biker Gangs Are Conquering Canada,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 30, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/18010.